« AnteriorContinuar »
plish the end for which it is sent. We must dare to be singular, and not fay—a consederacy. These combinations and connections consist, not of evangelists, but spies; and thofe who wish to be thought men of candour will not resist; so that the truth of the gofpel continues with but sew; nor are these kept in joints and bands by truth, love, and gofpel simplicity, bus by policy; not in desence of the power of godliness, but against it; to eclipse every heavenly ray, and quench every living coal that comes from the altar of burnt-offering. Our souls must not come into their secret, unto their assembly we must not be united. Singularity in our day is breaking through the bounds of the sear of man, which brings a snare. "We shall not be drove to countenance this and that scheme, against light and conscience, to gratisy Alexander the coppersmith; nor blunt the edge of God's sword for. sear of offending Diotrepbes, who fights for pre-eminence. We must know no man after the flesh. It is true, we shall not pass for men of moderate principles, nor will our names Be embalm ed with the syveet perfumes of candour and lenity; yet we shall have the approbation of God, the power of his Spirit, the blessings of the gofpel of peace, the testimony of an honest conscience, and shall be made manisest in the consciences of all good men, yea and wicked men too; and these are things that accompany salvation.
My son, let me have joy of thee; give thy mind to reading and study, be much in private, watch the
G 3 hand hand of God opon thee, and the leadings of his pro? vidence with thee; compare spiritual works within, with spiritual words in the book; and take heed to, and cleanse thy way by, that rule; indulge not deep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be fatisfied with bread; strive to enter in ^at the strait gate; that is the best entrance that is attended with the greatest difficulties, and that whiph is the hardest to get is the most valued when obtained; every virtue that the hand of faith setches from his fulness is an inestimable gem, and an eternal trophy. My love to all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth; by all means the Lord be with thy spirit.
BELOVED FRIEND, AND COMPANION IN
Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father,
I Received your kind letter of , and
glad I am that you are recovered from your late indispofition; for, had the Lord been pleased to lay you aside, the Philistines would have shouted, but poor Zion would have suffered a great loss; the bond children would have rejoiced, but the children of God would have mourned; the proud would have been happy, but the children of the kingdom would have been afflicted. But blessed be God, that doeth all things well, especially in that he has condescended to restore you again to his beloved ones.
As I faid before, I received your kind letter, for which I would return you my warmest thanks; it lays me under great obligations to you, but I hope you will excuse my not descending to particulars at this time, for want of room; suffice it to fay, it
G 4 gives gives me some consolation to find that I see in some measure eye to eye with you. I found fatisfaction where you are speaking from the i45th Pfalm, that the faints are privileged to speak of the kingdom, and talk of the power, and to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, &c. I was just at this time thinking that I was a bold, daring, presumptuous wretch; I was taking a view of what had passed in
a late journey to S (which 1 shall relate to you),
with what boldness I spake there, but, as I now thought, impudences and, being dark in my foul, as I faid before, I concluded that I was a daring, bold rebel for thus doing: but these words gave me to fee that a private believer is privileged to speak of such things; and, as I had not attempted to speak from a text, which I never found myself capable of, therefore I could not charge myself with running as a preacher unsent of God; and it is my continual prayer that I never may, for whenever I look into myself che point is settled at once. I have often wished in my mind that these things had never come out, for I have seen the people sometimes at
G as if they were looking and expecting a
blessing through me as an instrument, and even some of them waiting for it with anxious desire, and I myself dark, dead, liseless, and distressed ., but I have comforted myself in this, that the Lord had not called me to preach to them, nor had I ever myself given them room to think so; therefore I have thought with myself I would fit still and fay
nothing, nothing, and would watch; so when we have come together, I have more than once observed, that we have all been silent for a season, as if there had been nobody in the room; this has made me very uneasy and troubled in spirit concerning it. What! thought I, wont none of you speak? and have been pettish in my mind at it. What 1 shall I speak, and have got nothing on my mind? No, thought I, I wont; for the Lord has not called me to speak, and there is enough of thofe that have done that already, that have faid, and the Lord never faid by them, and it may therefore be a snare of Satan, that I may be puffed up with my fleshly mind, and so at last fall into the condemnation of the devil; for I sometimes seel pride like a mountain of brass: besides, thought I, I have, in times that are past, not been able to answer the charges that have been brought against me for speaking already, for upon trial I could not remember what I had been faying. I have reasoned with myself thus: perhaps I had been speaking lies, or leading the children of God into error, or bringing forth some new doctrine or some delusion, and that the whole of it arofe from nothing else but my own vanity. O! think I, how shocking is this, if it is true! and judging, from my own weakness, it might be possible, and with these things I have been quite confounded, and have wished I never had known them, but had remained a private Christian, in a corner, all the days of my life; and Jiave begged of the Lord, sooner than this should